Gingerbread cookies are like the Christmas season sugar cookie to me. The special cookie that gets a lot of focus this time of year. They’re dipped, decorated, used in crafts of all kinds and of course eaten. Who doesn’t love gingerbread cookies? They’re light while still having wonderful flavor. I’ve yet to make a gingerbread house or use gingerbread cookies in a craft but I do have plans to, even if it isn’t this year.
I hadn’t ever made gingerbread cookies from scratch so I was relying on Martha to ensure these weren’t a total failure. The dough itself seemed to be a little odd at first, but after sitting overnight it really came together. I was very fearful it wouldn’t turn out but it absolutely did work out in the end. Very tasty, not brittle, too puffy or anything odd – just right! I can’t say that I’d use that recipe for making my own gingerbread house pieces but that’s for another day or maybe even another year. This is definitely the perfect recipe for cookies though.
Last week when I made gingerbread cupcakes I decided I wanted to top them off with mini gingerbread man cookies. I knew it’d be cute if the cookies turned out. The first task was to find an image of a gingerbread man and size it how I wanted, then print and cute out. Easier said than done. I did this because I don’t own any mini Christmas cookie cutters. After the fact, I did come across a Wilton kid that included a mini gingerbread man. It figures right? So if you want to recreate those cupcakes or just make mini gingerbread man cookies in general, do pick up that box of mini cookie cutters. It’ll save you so much time and hassle. I made two sizes of gingerbread man cookies, both of which are smaller than a key. Picture proof to show just how crazy I was, cutting each out by hand. Thankfully I only did a few of each size.
3 C flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 C butter, softened
1/2 C brown sugar
1 tsp allspice
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp pepper (optional)
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 C molasses
In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking soda and baking powder. In a large bowl, cream butter with brown sugar. Add spices, salt, egg and molasses. Scrape bowl as needed. Mix well. Add flour mixture. Mix just until combined.
Divide dough in half. Form each half into a ball, then press down to form a thick disc. Wrap well in plastic. Chill for at least 1 hour. You can keep this dough chilled in the fridge for up to several days or stored in the freezer for several months if wrapped well. I currently have several varieties of cookie dough in the freezer. Each dough is wrapped in plastic, then in foil and labeled with the type of dough, temperature and time to bake at. They are then tossed in a large sealable plastic bag. Overkill? I say better safe than sorry. Plus, this way they're all stored together which makes them easy to find.
When your dough is firm, warm on a counter for 15-30 minutes before attempting to roll. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Using a rolling pin, roll dough 1/4" thick. Cut out shapes and transfer to a silpat or parchment lined baking sheet, spacing cookies at least 1" apart. These don't spread much so you can space them pretty close but you still want to be able to get in there with a spatula later so some space is always good.
Freeze tray for 15 minutes (10 for mini) or until firm. Bake for 12 minutes (7 for mini) or just until the edges appear to be getting darker. Let rest on the pan for 1-2 minutes before transfering to a cooling rack.
Store in an airtight container for up to a week. Decorate if desired with royal icing or frosting.
Recipe source: Martha Stewart